Strengthening the Privacy & Security of Displayed Information

Speaker: Peter Tarasewich , Northeastern University

Date: Friday, October 06, 2006

Time: 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM

Refreshments: 3:15 PM

Public: Yes

Location: Star Seminar Room (32-D463)

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Host: Rob Miller, MIT CSAIL

Contact: Rob Miller, x46028,

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Reminder Subject: TALK: Strengthening the Privacy & Security of Displayed

Technology continues to move us closer to the point of "anywhere and anytime" access to information. One of our current research projects looks at protecting the privacy and security of displayed information that could be potentially overseen by unauthorized individuals. While techniques exist to protect stored or transmitted information, other methods are needed to safeguard information once it is displayed to the user. This work began during our investigations into the design and use of pixel-based displays, which convey information using one or more individual lights. One of the most significant benefits of these displays is that information can be personalized such that only the user knows what it means, even if shown in public. For example, three blue lights on a person's ring, even when noticed by other people nearby, could convey a message only understood by the wearer. The desire for a more general approach led to the development of a “privacy blinder” technique that automatically covers sensitive information (as defined by the user and/or organization) whenever and wherever it appears on a display screen, without affecting the readability of the remainder of the display. The user is able to “lift” the blinders temporarily if access is desired to the protected information. Our technique has been successfully implemented as a plug-in to the Mozilla Firefox Web browser, and we are working on additional applications.

This talk will present our research to date and current activities related to this project. As time permits, I will also summarize some of the other HCI research projects being conducted at Northeastern, including the design of interfaces that help users more easily create passwords that are both 1) very secure and 2) usable (i.e., memorable), two often contradictory requirements. We have also created several new methods for text entry on mobile devices, most notably in the area of predictive keypad text entry techniques.

Bio: Dr. Peter Tarasewich is an assistant professor of Information Science (IS) at the College of Computer & Information Science at Northeastern University, and a cofounder of the College’s Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Laboratory. His current research is focused on human-computer interaction and ubiquitous computing, particularly in the area of mobile device interface design, usability, privacy, and security. This work is interdisciplinary by nature, bridging business information systems, computer science, psychology, and engineering. Dr. Tarasewich has degrees in computer science and electrical engineering from Duke University, an MBA in MIS from the University of Pittsburgh, and a PhD in operations and information management from the University of Connecticut. He can be reached at, and his Web site is at

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See other events that are part of the HCI Seminar Series Fall 2006.

Created by Linda L. Julien Email at Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 6:22 AM.